Big demand for Heartland grown pumpkins

BENTON, MO (KFVS) - Halloween and fall activities revolving around a popular squash has pumpkin patches on the east coast shopping in the Heartland.

The big demand for jack o' lanterns is carving up a profit for local pumpkin farmers.

The flooding from Hurricane Irene wiped out most of the pumpkin crops on the East Coast and the drought conditions in Texas hurt the pumpkin business there. The shortage is not all bad news, as Heartland farmers are reaping the benefits.

There's high demand and local growers say their pumpkin crop this year is great.

At Diebold Orchards in Benton, Mo. they're getting requests from all over for pumpkins.

The owner calls it a mixed bag type year saying, some crops didn't do as well but the jack o' lantern looks excellent.

"Well surprisingly, we've got an excellent crop, in fact a bumper crop of jack o' lantern pumpkins," said David Diebold. "Most of them are sold in the local area. We are sending a few down to Memphis and up in Illinois a little bit, but most of them are being sold locally."

In Illinois, this year's pumpkin crop is mixed.

Some farmers are reporting good crops and others say their crops this year are terrible.

According to the Illinois Department of Agriculture, 95-percent of the US crop is processed in the Land of Lincoln. That's more than one-million-pounds.

Ohio, New York and California are next in line as top pumpkin producers.

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